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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Group Forum: Solo Tripping
      Can we talk about weather?     

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jayshef
member (8)member
 
08/13/2020 07:11AM  
My trip partner had to back out and I am considering my first solo- with an Aug 24 permit into Farm Lake. This will be my fourth trip and I have paddled in tough wind, rain and waves. But this is the part I am most nervous about going solo, because winds can pick up pretty fast (and every trip report talks about how rough Farm can be!). Any words of wisdom on this? I would rent a solo canoe and bring a kayak paddle, but while I have done some solo canoeing, most of my solo paddling experience is in a kayak. Between now and then I will train solo in my tandem canoe.
Also, about route: from Farm I could head into Clear and below - or east into Lake One, etc. Any thoughts on which direction would be better solo? Thanks.
 
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sedges
distinguished member(674)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/13/2020 08:43AM  
Where and which direction is not as important as WHEN. Meaning time of day. Get on the water early and usually you will have little wind. Set an alarm if you have to. Keep your breakfasts simple and quick so you can get moving fast.

On my solos I am usually done with my traveling by noon unless there are some long or difficult portages to contend with. On days that I will have big, exposed waters to travel I will eat my lunch/snack goodies while I pack up the outfit(trail mix-nuts, dried fruit and m&ms, box of raisins and a square of semisweet bakers chocolate). After I stop to camp I'll have my hot breakfast if I am missing it.

If the afternoon is calm that is a bonus. Fishing, exploring time. Many afternoons are spent in the hammock watching the late risers and pancake and bacon breakfast folks battle the wind and waves out on the lake.
 
jayshef
member (8)member
 
08/13/2020 09:17AM  
sedges: "Where and which direction is not as important as WHEN. Meaning time of day"

Thanks Sedges... very helpful. That's my favorite time anyway.
 
ewbeyer
senior member (53)senior membersenior member
 
08/13/2020 02:19PM  
My thoughts on routes while going solo are that it doesn't really matter until you know what the wind is going to do. Sure, smaller lakes are safest, I suppose. But, tough wind is tough wind. If the wind is bad, you have to sit, generally. Wind does dictate your route though. I was on SeaGull-Sag loop through Alpine and Red Rocks recently. NW wind to start meant I started on SeaGull to hug the north shore rather than starting on Sag. Then I just crossed my fingers that I would time Sag right to hide. Literally made the decision in the parking lot. Of course, the wind switched on day three so it was SE on Sag, which meant - as was stated above- an early wake-up to get across the big water. Just keep your options open and hug shorelines that give you the most protection. Of course, if the wind is steady, and you ride it in one direction, it may be your enemy coming back out! Keep your eye on weather and plan to change your plan.
 
sedges
distinguished member(674)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/13/2020 04:22PM  
EW,

You had a permit for both entry points?
 
ewbeyer
senior member (53)senior membersenior member
 
08/13/2020 04:58PM  
No - Started and finished on SeaGull regardless. I would have gone down the SeaGull River to Sag about a mile into the paddle if a strong SW. Instead, I finished by paddling up the river. I guess technically, I would not have "entered" SeaGull that way since the BW border does not start for another 200 yards past the river, even though I literally put in on SeaGull but- it was my strong wind backup risk... I don't think you have to worry about that uber-technical permit issue entering on Farm anyway. Once in, you can go either direction on your permit.
 
08/13/2020 08:51PM  
Make sure to bring a weather radio with you. If you go out on a day trip or fishing, have weight in the stern and bow. I use 20 L dry bags filled 3/4 with water. Make sure to leave air in the top of the bag. Using rocks works fine unless you capsize. In that case the rocks could sink the canoe. Best of luck I’m sure you’ll be fine.
 
08/13/2020 09:42PM  
I was concerned about wind on my first solo, too. However, because I had considerable experience paddling a tandem with a partner in wind, I had very few problems. I expect that you'll find that true, too. There was one day that I had to find a place where I could get out and adjust the load so that I could get a better trim, but that was the only difficulty I encountered. When the wind was really high, I just stayed off the water. In other words, I used my best judgement.
 
straighthairedcurly
distinguished member(832)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/13/2020 09:47PM  
The shoreline is your friend, especially when solo. I also like to practice wind ferrying. On Brule this year, I had a fairly stiff wind from the south. I was traveling east to west and exiting out the north side into the Cone Lakes. So I just kept the islands to my south and then wind ferried between islands.

Have a fun trip!
 
PineKnot
distinguished member(1715)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/14/2020 12:04PM  
TomT: "Make sure to bring a weather radio with you. If you go out on a day trip or fishing, have weight in the stern and bow. I use 20 L dry bags filled 3/4 with water. Make sure to leave air in the top of the bag. Using rocks works fine unless you capsize. In that case the rocks could sink the canoe. Best of luck I’m sure you’ll be fine. "

+1. Get a radio that gets the NOAA weather reports for Ely. They give fairly accurate reports on precipitation and wind speed/direction for the current and next day, less accurate for subsequent days. After two 2-week solos this summer, it allowed me on several days to determine whether to layover or move on to my next campsite. It's been a very windy summer so far in the BWCA....
 
08/14/2020 02:11PM  
From a route perspective it probably depends on how far you want to travel in a day and how many days you have. At a relaxed pace, you could run up the North K to just past the 210 rod portage for your first camp. Run down the South K to just before the portage to Little Gab for camp #2. Jump over to Little Gab and maybe over to Turtle for camp #3. Then back track a little bit over to Clear for Camp #4 with a short paddle back through Farm on your last day. Plenty to see and do from any of those camps if you have layover days.

Agree with the weather radio or something that picks up WELY so you can hear the forecasts. WELY weather typically forecasts the wind 1 to 2 days out. I commonly solo west down the North K towards Farm in the early afternoon and almost always have a headwind, but a manageable headwind and there are enough islands and points to hide behind if I need a break. The rumors about Farm are true, if there is a good stiff wind from the south it can get dangerously rough.

As I mentioned on your other post, if you see a solo guy in a wood stripper, it's probably me. My current plan, which is all weather and whimsy dependent, is to be on the North K on the 26th and 27th.

JD
 
jayshef
member (8)member
 
08/14/2020 02:19PM  
Get a radio that gets the NOAA weather reports for Ely.

Has anyone used the forecasts that come through the Garmin InReach? I have one from backpacking that i will bring, especially for GPS, weather and SOS.
 
jayshef
member (8)member
 
08/14/2020 02:25PM  
Just found this thread. Sounds like people who use it are pretty satisfied. I welcome any other thoughts. https://bwca.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=forum.thread&threadId=1146110&forumID=15&confID=1
 
08/14/2020 03:53PM  
I can't imagine what the crowds are like in Lake One area this year. I promised myself never to hit that are in the summer again.
 
jayshef
member (8)member
 
08/15/2020 06:44AM  
jdevries: "From a route perspective it probably depends on how far you want to travel in a day and how many days you have. At a relaxed pace, you could run up the North K to just past the 210 rod portage for your first camp. Run down the South K to just before the portage to Little Gab for camp #2. Jump over to Little Gab and maybe over to Turtle for camp #3. Then back track a little bit over to Clear for Camp #4 with a short paddle back through Farm on your last day. Plenty to see and do from any of those camps if you have layover days."

Thanks JD. I like this plan. My only concern is getting to Farm for my exit later in the day and finding it super windy. What do you think about leaving my car at the Lake One EP (or South K #32?) and exiting there? Do you agree with minnmike that is super crowded over at Lake One? Looks fun with all the islands.
 
08/15/2020 08:32AM  
jayshef: "Get a radio that gets the NOAA weather reports for Ely.

Has anyone used the forecasts that come through the Garmin InReach? I have one from backpacking that i will bring, especially for GPS, weather and SOS. "


Many of us have used InReach for weather forecasts. There is an interesting thread from last year on this topic: InReach Weather Forecasts
 
08/15/2020 09:44AM  
Safety is always rule one and especially on a solo. I suspect the OP appreciates this. With experience in wind and rough water and plans to practice a bit before tripping I suspect all will be good. I also recognize all boats handle differently and getting a good trim with the load can make a critical difference. Once you get the feel of the boat you paddle you will likely know your limits. Then add a little more be safe in your choice to travel or sit tight.
 
jayshef
member (8)member
 
08/15/2020 10:51AM  
bhouse46: "Safety is always rule one and especially on a solo. I suspect the OP appreciates this. With experience in wind and rough water and plans to practice a bit before tripping I suspect all will be good. I also recognize all boats handle differently and getting a good trim with the load can make a critical difference. Once you get the feel of the boat you paddle you will likely know your limits. Then add a little more be safe in your choice to travel or sit tight. "

Thanks!
 
08/16/2020 03:31PM  
TomT: "Make sure to bring a weather radio with you. If you go out on a day trip or fishing, have weight in the stern and bow. I use 20 L dry bags filled 3/4 with water. Make sure to leave air in the top of the bag. Using rocks works fine unless you capsize. In that case the rocks could sink the canoe. Best of luck I’m sure you’ll be fine. " What is the wisdom on using extra weight in a solo canoe when you day trip? I've been paddling solo canoes for 30 years and have never had the need for this. Are you talking about using a tandem as a solo?
 
08/17/2020 05:56PM  
Blatz: "TomT: "Make sure to bring a weather radio with you. If you go out on a day trip or fishing, have weight in the stern and bow. I use 20 L dry bags filled 3/4 with water. Make sure to leave air in the top of the bag. Using rocks works fine unless you capsize. In that case the rocks could sink the canoe. Best of luck I’m sure you’ll be fine. " What is the wisdom on using extra weight in a solo canoe when you day trip? I've been paddling solo canoes for 30 years and have never had the need for this. Are you talking about using a tandem as a solo? "

It's easier to manage in any kind of wind and generally just more stable. Also, I go with a 50-55 lb. dog in the bow and forgot to mention that. :)
 
gravelroad
distinguished member (361)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/07/2020 02:00PM  
ewbeyer: "My thoughts on routes while going solo are that it doesn't really matter until you know what the wind is going to do. Sure, smaller lakes are safest, I suppose. But, tough wind is tough wind. If the wind is bad, you have to sit, generally. Wind does dictate your route though. I was on SeaGull-Sag loop through Alpine and Red Rocks recently. NW wind to start meant I started on SeaGull to hug the north shore rather than starting on Sag. Then I just crossed my fingers that I would time Sag right to hide. Literally made the decision in the parking lot. Of course, the wind switched on day three so it was SE on Sag, which meant - as was stated above- an early wake-up to get across the big water. Just keep your options open and hug shorelines that give you the most protection. Of course, if the wind is steady, and you ride it in one direction, it may be your enemy coming back out! Keep your eye on weather and plan to change your plan. "

Been sitting at home waiting for confirmation that next week's forecast S winds gusting to 25 on Seagull will disappear eventually. NWS ain't cooperating so far ...

 
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